23a The Israelites went up and wept before the Lord until the evening; and they inquired of the Lord, "Shall we again draw near to battle against our kinsfolk the Benjaminites?" And the Lord said, "Go up against them."
So the Israelites advanced against the Benjaminites the second day.
Benjamin moved out against them from Gibeah the second day, and struck down eighteen thousand of the Israelites, all of them armed men.
Then all the Israelites, the whole army, went back to Bethel and wept, sitting there before the Lord; they fasted that day until evening. Then they offered burnt offerings and sacrifices of well-being before the Lord.
And the Israelites inquired of the Lord (for the ark of the covenant of God was there in those days,
and Phinehas son of Eleazar, son of Aaron, ministered before it in those days), saying, "Shall we go out once more to battle against our kinsfolk the Benjaminites, or shall we desist?" The Lord answered, "Go up, for tomorrow I will give them into your hand."
So Israel stationed men in ambush around Gibeah.
Then the Israelites went up against the Benjaminites on the third day, and set themselves in array against Gibeah, as before.
When the Benjaminites went out against the army, they were drawn away from the city. As before they began to inflict casualties on the troops, along the main roads, one of which goes up to Bethel and the other to Gibeah, as well as in the open country, killing about thirty men of Israel.
The Benjaminites thought, "They are being routed before us, as previously." But the Israelites said, "Let us retreat and draw them away from the city toward the roads."
The main body of the Israelites drew back its battle line to Baal-tamar, while those Israelites who were in ambush rushed out of their place west b of Geba.
New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. (New Revised Standard Bible Version Online)